Friday, October 07, 2005

Comments about emigration article

Recently a Bolivian reader told me that she is soon moving to the Netherlands. This reminded me that the number of Bolivian students around Utrecht has decreased. A reason for this perception might be that I stopped attending student parties here. So if you are Bolivian and living in Utrecht (or in the Netherlands) drop me a mail. You can find my email address on the left side of the blog. Sorry if you cannot copy/paste it or just click on it. With that sacrifice of yours I have less spam to go through!

Have you checked out this article from La Razon? It says that Bolivia gets more money from expats working abroad than from the sale of gas. It is estimated that 860 million dollars will be sent to Bolivia this year, 40% percent of exports. The Multilateral Investement Fund (FOMIN) conducted a poll on 1523 persons that receive money from abroad. The study cannot use just money transfer numbers from financial institutions because 38% of people receive money directly from travelers. (This reminds me of the Bolivian tradition of sending food, drinks, money with travelers that your family or you happen to know. Only in a few cases I heard of Bolivians using the post or banks for such purposes :).)

FOMIN also calculates that there are one million Bolivian migrants sending money home. Half of them live in Latin America and the other half in Europe and the United States. MABB posts a full English translation of the same article (including a nice chart). Regarding the conclusions in his post:
Two negative aspects are important to consider. One is that by trying to encourage a massive transfer of dollars from the world into Bolivia, inflation could be triggered. The other important aspect is for the government not to encourage emmigration. The brain-drain problem in Bolivia is bad enough as it is.
I am more optimist about the outcome of emigration. Migrant Bolivians are making trade links that are going to be extremely useful for the future. I believe that, for instance, India is doing better currently because of the connections that it developed thanks to emigration.


Anonymous flordeldesierto said...

I just finished reading the article from the newspaper, and somehow I realized that bolivian government is depending so much in the money coming from outside than trying to find real solutions. It seems to me that they do not realized that we should not be exporting people.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous eduardo said...

I am fascinated by the stories of Bolivian immigrants abroad. I have a friend in Sweden who tells me that there are huge pockets of Bolivians living in Scandanavia.

Please continue to write about your experiences as a Bolivian living abroad and any interaction with Bolivians in Europe.

My hope is that one day that many of the bright Bolivians living abroad will have the opportunity to return to Bolivia and take back our country from the eternal state of crisis.

Idealism is funny, no?

2:40 PM  
Blogger Alexey said...

flordeldesierto, in general the same measures that help would-be emigrants would help normal people as well. It is safe to say that since the government does not improve the quality of life of normal people, there is not much that it can do for potential travelers.

On the other hand, as I expressed in my post, emigration is positive to help finding links (be it trade, cultural, etc) for development. Of course I do not agree with explotation and bad living conditions.

People who went abroad to work are coming back. They are investing in houses, businesses; they are entrepreneurs. Who knows, a few of them might be producing stuff for their former employers.

Consider for a moment what do you do if you want to sell a product? You need an associate, someone who helps you to sell it in the target country. Who is it? The Bolivian emigrant!

What is missing now is some kind of activism in the Bolivian community abroad to help a little bit. More activism than, say, playing football or dancing diabladas abroad. For a good example take a look at . Clarification: I am not part of that project.

eduardo, I will try to post more about it. But for now it is hard given the lack of bolivians around here :). My only Bolivian friend over here has recently moved to Eindhoven. I will visit her soon though, so there might be more related posts later.

Idealism is refreshing :). Isn't it interesting how conversations can turn idealistic when we meet a compatriota abroad? When we talk with my friend mentioned above we can spend hours on utopical crazy schemes!

6:41 PM  

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